From the Headmaster’s Desk 11th October 2019

“Let them get on with it.” I don’t often look to the same source for inspiration two weeks in a row but this quotation from Colonel Tim Collins OBE makes him one of a select bunch, along with Shakespeare and Tolkien. Independence of thought, mind and activity is a wonderful thing, one of our six Lyonsdown Learning habits, and worth talking about.

This week we let the children get on with it and demonstrate independence when escorting Julie Robinson, the CEO of the Independent Schools Council (a body that represents the interests of independent schools in the UK), on her visit to Lyonsdown. She was delighted to hear more from the girls and teachers about the changes we are making to the curriculum, including our refreshed English curriculum and focus on the needs of girls as we move to be fully single sex by September 2022. Julie was also impressed by our new facilities, which I have had the pleasure of sharing with more parents this week at our Parents’ Evening – instating a third evening for the first time has not only allowed for more parents to see more teachers, but it is fabulous to hear that it has also allowed us to improve the feedback we are able to give families.

The Year 6 girls showed further independence during our Open Day, when they took on the role of ambassadors for Lyonsdown. Praise is always universal here, with my favourite example this half-term being: “they are so impressive… a credit to the school.” Our recent sporting fixtures also teach independence; no matter how good your coach, once you are on the pitch, independence is key. The same can be said of an examination or interview. As anyone who talks to me for more than five minutes knows, giving children responsibility and independence is a cornerstone of the Lyonsdown experience. With guidance, all children can thrive when left to “get on with it,” and are better prepared for their learning journey.

Although independence is key, schools cannot achieve common goals if they do not collaborate, as is the case with Parents’ Evenings. My meeting with the new FLS leadership team was very insightful, and I am glad that we will  be able to use the funds that have been raised by our parent body to further improve our provision. My thanks to all parents for contributing in whatever way you can, and to Mrs Antoniou and Mrs Carlos for all of the additional work they have done, and will do, this year.

To end the week, Friday was the International Day of the Girl, with the focus on GirlForce: unscripted and unstoppable, which teachers have been discussing in class and I highlighted in assembly. The key message this year is that investing in girls is investing in a better future that is equal for all – for girls themselves, for their families and for communities, and I would encourage you to share the following link with your children.

Unusually, this edition ends with a second quote, from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations. Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life.”

All the best for a relaxing weekend.

Mr Hammond